Steppin’ out

by Jillian Bogater (Exile From Hysteria)

Charlie and I celebrate my first adventure outside since returning from the hospital.

Charlie and I celebrate my first adventure outside since returning from the hospital.

I knew my first walk outside since I got home from the hospital would be a big deal, but nothing could truly prepare me for the experience.

Since most of the snow has melted, I chose to walk out back with my pup Charlie. The experience left me truly overwhelmed … by the amount of dog poo that needs to be picked up. That’s right. Without the snow to camoflauge, I was out for a hike on Poo Mountain.

Normally I would grab a couple plastic bags and take care of the situation. But with strict restrictions on bending/lifting/twisting, the Poop Patrol was a no go. So I skillfully bobbed and weaved my way to the back of the yard, surveyed my path, then scouted out a return trip. The mines were everywhere. I didn’t want to step on one, especially with my nifty new slip-on Merrill shoes. So I let Matt lead the way, and managed to even avoid the puddles of mud.

For the last week, the most exercise I got was traveling from my recliner to the loo. When I was feeling feisty, I would loop through the kitchen and grab a cup of coffee. Or maybe to the bedroom to pretend I was putting on something other than a nightgown. Again.

It took days to work up to the trip outside. I starting talking about it at the beginning of Β the week. “I’m gonna walk all the way to the neighbor’s driveway!” I would declare to no one in particular. Usually such bravado would be followed by a serious nap.

I would look out the front window, and imagine walking along each cement square into unchartered territory. Then the doctor’s voice echoed in my brain. “Remember: As far as you walk, you need to still make it back.” She was right. My next door neighbor’s yard seemed an attainable goal.

I surprised Matt by suiting up this afternoon. I even traded in my nightgown for a pair of black sweatpants and a grey turtleneck. When I started zippering my coat, Matt sat up on the couch. “Hey! Where are you going?” he asked, genuinely amazed to see me up and about.

“I am going for a walk,” I said. Matt quickly hopped up and slipped on his shoes. “Why don’t we go out back?”

I hadn’t even considered that option. But I liked it. If I fell, or contorted into some ungodly post-hysterectomy shape, I wouldn’t have an audience. Save for Tangelo, our neighbor’s newly adopted golden retriever. But he’s a trustworthy fella. I doubt he would cause trouble.

So we went out back. Charlie bounded between the piles of poo, and I made my self dizzy staring down at my foot placement as I made my way through the yard.

Once I got back in the house, I surprised myself with a burst of energy instead of a nap.

In all honesty, I didn’t expect today to go this way. Last night I abandoned my recliner and tried sleeping in my bed for the first time. The experiment ended badly, and I woke up with my back in painful spasms. This morning I could hardly even roll out of bed, and definitely didn’t have any form of exercise on my agenda.

But in this I found a lesson. I pushed through the pain, and kept moving.

I don’t see another option.